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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 29, 2021.
IG Independence and Empowerment Act
This bill addresses issues regarding inspectors general (IGs) and the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) Integrity Committee. The committee is charged with investigating allegations of wrongdoing against office of IG officials.
The bill allows an IG to be removed only for cause, such as for documented malfeasance. Congress must be notified before an IG is placed on nonduty status. The bill requires the President to explain any failure to nominate an IG and adds provisions regarding acting IGs when an IG position is vacant.
The committee must notify Congress when an allegation of wrongdoing made by a Member of Congress is closed without referral for investigation.
The bill requires CIGIE to report semiannually to Congress and the President on the activities of the committee. The bill adds provisions regarding appointment of former IGs to the committee. An IG must refer to the committee any allegation of wrongdoing against that IG.
The bill grants (1) IGs the authority to subpoena witnesses who are not currently government employees, and (2) the Department of Justice (DOJ) IG the authority to investigate wrongdoing by DOJ attorneys.
The bill requires notification to Congress of an IG's ongoing investigations when the IG is placed on nonduty status.
IGs must notify Congress if agencies deny access to requested information.
The bill requires the establishment of minimum standards and best practices for IG training.
The Government Accountability Office shall review the effectiveness of the processes of the CIGIE committee and of the offices of IGs for ensuring IG accountability, integrity, and independence.